Well, this is a brand new blog. I’m pretty excited about it, because I don’t get to talk about health and wellness very much. When I do, people just think I’m weird because my field is nowhere near in relation to health or wellness. I sit in front of a computer all day and code, which is probably actually really unhealthy. But hey, it’s my life man.
Anyway, I’m going to start with the first Food of the Week post. And I think I’ll start with my favorite food: The Avocado.
Yes, I capitalized it. And I will do so throughout this entire article, because it’s that awesome. If I’m at a restaurant and something has Avocado in it, that’s what I’m eating. If I’m at a restaurant and Avocado isn’t anywhere on the menu, I leave the restaurant. I may be exaggerating.
The Avocado is a fruit that comes from a tree native to Mexico (and apparently it’s also a town in California and the name of a Pearl Jam album, according to Wikipedia). It’s the fruit used to make the glorious guacamole you can get at Chipotle and Qdoba. Or any restaurant, I suppose, since that is what all guacamole is made out of.
The Avocado is sometimes referred to as the alligator pear (adorable) because of its green-ness (I guess), its shape, its thick, leathery exterior, and its sharp, harrowing teeth. Also, Steve Irwin used to wrestle them.
Believe it or not, The Avocado is actually not a pear. It’s a berry with one large seed inside of it. The flesh of an Avocado is smooth, buttery, awesome and green. Or at least it should be green. If you come across Avocado flesh that is not green, I would advise you not to eat it.
Avocados are incredibly good for you. Perhaps the greatest benefit we get from them is complete protein. This means it contains all 18 essential amino acids, which is something you can’t say about steak (which is also awesome, don’t get me wrong). Avocado protein is more easily absorbed by our bodies because they also contain lots of fiber. For any vegetarians / vegans out there (and hey, everyone else), The Avocado is a fantastic way to get more protein into your diet.
Avocados also contain healthy fat, similar to the kind you find in olive oil and almonds. They boost HDL (“good” cholesterol), which protects us from dangerous free radicals that can make us sick. HDL also prevents diabetes by regulating triglyceride levels. It’s been studied that avocados can be as effective at reducing levels of LDL (“bad” cholesterol) as statin drugs.
Another nutritional benefit of Avocados is their level of carotenoids, which are nutrients that deliver Vitamin A to our bodies. They are the reason carrots are so good for our eyesight. Like carrots, Avocados are excellent sources of carotenoids. Although Avocados don’t have its name adorably embedded into the word. Carotenoids also promote healthier functioning of both the immune system and the reproductive system. I’m all for anything that helps keep us flu-free and, you know… all good down there.
The next benefit is a big’un. There’s been a ton of buzz about omega-3 lately, and for good reason. Omega-3 fatty acids have been known to significantly improve heart health, reduce inflammation throughout the body, prevent cancer cell growth, lessen depression symptoms, prevent asthma attacks, boost prenatal health, improve cognitive function, prevent blood clots, reduce chances of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and even more. Avocados are rich in omega-3 with about 160 miligrams of alpha-linolenic acid. Other good sources of omega-3 include flax seeds (approx. 133% daily value), salmon, walnuts, sardines, beef (grass-fed), soybeans, halibut, scallops, shrimp, and tofu.
Avocados also contain a combination of various other nutrients, including Vitamin C (immunity), Vitamin E (age-slowing), selenium (free-radical fighting), zinc (cell growth and repair), and phytosterols (cholesterol-lowering).
I guess the point is… Avocados are like, really really good for you.
Like all produce, you probably don’t want to eat avocados when they are overly ripe. You can tell when they are too ripe when they have dents on their skin, feel too soft, and have a little mouth that talks to you. Food shouldn’t talk to you. The skin of a ripe Avocado should be closer to black than green in color, be dent-less and feel slightly soft when you squeeze it.
Press on the tip of your nose (wash your hands first). That’s how it should feel when you squeeze. And I look pretty swag in the grocery store when I’m squeezing an avocado with my right hand and pushing on my nose with my left. I don’t look weird or disturbed at all.
You can always buy an unripe Avocado, which will still feel pretty hard and will be a lot greener. Just let it sit on the counter until it’s ripe. If it starts talking to you, throw it out.
Preparing and Eating
You can prepare an Avocado in many heavenly ways. Smash it up into a spread for crackers, make guacamole with it, chop it up into pieces for a salad, or slice it up and place it on chicken or something.
Start by washing the Avocado. I’m more concerned about the virus-riddled fingers of the general public than pesticides. In fact Avocados are #2 on the Clean 15 list, so you don’t have to buy them organic. Make that reason #257 for why I love them.
Place the Avocado length-wise on a cutting board or something. Make sure the fruit is perpendicular to your body (weird sentence). Hold the Avocado securely with one hand and slice carefully down the center long-ways with your cutting hand. Use your holding hand to turn the Avocado so you cut completely around it.
Pull the two cut pieces apart from each other. Use a spoon to scoop the pit out. Be gentle. It’s the Avocado’s first time.
Pretend you’re Dexter and use a knife to slice out all the flesh. The most nutrients are in the parts closest to the skin, so don’t skimp. Get it all out of there. Really gut that thing.
Then, do whatever the hell you want with it.
Here are a few awesome Avocado-bearing recipes I found on the internetz. Usually via Pinterest, because that is basically all I do. Exaggerating again. Or am I? … Just look at the recipes.
Avocado and Crab Salad – Family Spice
Sunny Side Up Toast with Avocados – Who Knew?
Cayenne Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa – Martha Stewart
Avocado Coconut Ice Cream – Some the Wiser
Avocado Bacon and Eggs – SteakNPotatoesKindaGurl
Chicken Flautas – All Recipes